Monday, May 7, 2012

Weekend 5 - 6 May 2012

The Guest House employees, except for the lady front center, have worked here since 2005 (Grant and I recently bought the uniforms in SA and brought them to Mwadui)

Since arriving in Mwadui, I've been helping out at the company Guest House. (Ewgh, not my most favourite job: cooking and housekeeping!) It's part of Grant's job description but of course, he's busy managing the mine earth moving project and cannot even begin to deal with an issue such as this [domestic] one! (All the previous Contracts Managers had the same problem and left the running of the establishment to five Tanzanian ladies which included three cooks and two cleaners. )
 Back row, l to r: Salome, Marina and Regina; Front row. l to r: Rosemary, Pendo and Janet

The GH team consisted of five ladies, four of whom were sisters. Marina, the oldest was employed first in 2005. Subsequently she brought in other workers, her siblings, Regina, Rosemary and Janet. This in itself presented a problem as if there was a family emergency (which happens with considerable frequency in Africa) then 90% of the team would take leave. This meant that the essential services of cleaning, washing, ironing and cooking for the expats fell by the wayside. 

My dh, decided with the HR manager, to re-structure the staff. Ever the diplomat, Grant told Marina that he needed someone responsible to oversee the other two company guest houses in town. Several expats live there but eat at the main Guest House. Apparently the conditions are less than savoury so Marina is just the perfect person to ensure that a proper clean up and regular maintenance is effected. 

Grant is upgrading his office and told Rosemary he needs someone with flair to help in this quarter.  Rosemary, apart from being an excellent cook, always made sure the guest rooms were neat, had fresh curtains and linen, towels, soap and new water bottles when visitors were due. So she has gone to the main office as Grant's tea/office lady and to ensure that his office is in shipshape order. She will also oversee the cleaning and upgrading of the admin offices in the building.

Janet,  third of the four sisters, previously applied to become a machine operator  but Grant's predecessor didn't want to lose her to the Guest House. (She bakes beautifully, turning out light and fluffy hamburger rolls, bagia/chillie bites and donuts to die for!) She has now gone to the mines to become a trainee excavator operator. Note: I was very surprised the first time I saw a woman operating a large earthmoving machine on the mines. When I queried this, Grant told me that they make excellent operators: they are diligent, their time-keeping is excellent, they don't abuse the machines and they're of sober habits so their attendance is generally 100%. Interesting...

From l to r: Rosemary (who now works for Grant), Salome, me, Pendo and Regina

So as from today, the Guest House female staff consists of the last of the original sisters, Regina, Pendo and Salome. Regina cleans my house, does our washing and ironing, sees to the cats (especially when I'm off site!) and does the same for Marnitz' little cottage existence behind us.  As these two jobs only takes Regina until about 10.30 every morning, she is also my sous salad and dessert chef over at the Guest House.

Salome is an excellent cook and prepares all Indian food for meals. She also bakes like a dream; she makes divine buns, bread, chapatis, naan bread, bagia, samoosas and donuts. She will take over Janet's job although Regina bakes too and will help in between. 

I asked Grant to employ Pendo on a temporary basis from mid-February. She is the washer-upper and general cleaner. She 's also helped in my house when Regina has had days off, so knows how to care for my cats! With the restructuring of the staff, Grant has told Pendo that she is now on three months' probation, after which he will give her a contract. Needless to say, she is over the moon.

As from today Grant has appointed a chef in the kitchen. He is at this moment cooking for the Mzungus according to the day's menu which I plan. (Salome is doing the curry for the Indians) I inadvertently threw him a curved ball half-way through the morning; we have three extra visitors for lunch, two of which are vegetarians. I've given him the recipe for vegetable korma which I think he should manage along with Salome's help!

I had a wonderful trip to Dar albeit too short. I mean, how can a woman do anything in a city with only one day to do it in? And half of that day was taken up with flying, stuck in snarled up traffic and visiting the embassy! More about this trip later this week.

I hope you're all having a wonderful week.


  1. As I have often said Jo, you lead a very exciting and varied existence. You are wonderfully organised and no job is too big all small for you to tackle. Impressive. As well as all that, you also write constantly. Where do you find the time?

  2. So interesting! All of these organizational obligations must take up a lot of your time. It sounds like you don't leave out any details.

  3. Sounds like some positive reorganizing. I like that Grant hired a lady as a machine operator. Mike says the same thing about women being more responsible and taking care of the machinery better.

  4. Wow....You need to send me one of those ladies!!!Hahaa...My house could use her!!!

  5. Hi Jo, ever organized! It was a very diplomatic way of side stepping what could be a major problem before it happens and also kept all of these smiling and efficient ladies in employment.

  6. I too could use one of those ladies *smile. It certainly sounds like there is lots of work to go around for all their talents. Blessings and hugs. xx

  7. People who bake things! What a dream. I used to love baking, but my hands and arms aren't very strong any more. I can still work at a keyboard while sitting in a comfortable office chair, but fancy cooking and baking seem to be beyond me.
    On the other hand, my new kitchen should be a big help, as it will be much more efficient.
    I have someone who comes in to help me with the heavy cleaning every two weeks, so that takes a bit of the load off, but I do the laundry, and nobody here does any ironing. LOL

  8. Hi Jo, you have been busy. I have my dear hubby cooking for me. But, I would like to have someone help with the cleaning. :) Sounds nice. I hope you are well, loved the photos. Have a great week.

  9. I've enjoyed catching up on your blog after weeks' absence---too much to do and very little time for blogging! You have some very talented Guest House ladies. I interested to read that Grant likes the work that the women do in operating the heavy equipment!


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